Happy New Year… Begin with the end in mind

Dear Mind Mapping Graduate

Happy New Year to you!  May 2013 be rich in experience, good health and much happiness.

One way you can help realise the above is by using a Mind Map to create a plan for your year.  For those of you who completed their Year in Review as suggested in my previous newsletter (or who are about to), this is the second stage in the process.  If you haven’t already completed your Year in Review, it is still valuable to do so, remembering Mind Maps are quite quick to do. 

Colour-coded symbols for Year in Review 2012 by Marion Langford

Colour-coded symbols for Year in Review 2012 by Marion Langford

A tip from my own review of 2012 was to make up a series of colour coded symbols to simplify my Mind Map and allow me to capture more on my page (I used a large sheet not quite as big as an A3 and hand drew my Mind Map.)  These are the symbols I used.

As I prepare for 2013 I remember the wisdom from Stephen Covey’s book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, Habit 1 which is “Begin with the end in mind” and that is our next Mind Map.

Below is a sample Mind Map I have created on my iPad for my planning process for 2013.  As you can see there are a number of branches on the map so if you are hand-drawing (my preference for this), start with a large page and if necessary do a couple of maps to ensure you cover all aspects.

2013 Aspirations, Aims, A guiding plan by Marion Langford

2013 Aspirations, Aims, A guiding plan by Marion Langford

1. Values
It is worth reviewing your top 5 values, as they can help in making sure your decisions throughout the year are in alignment with what is important to you in your life.  In working out your values look at where you naturally spend your time, effort and money and that will help you to identify your values.  For me it is around family, learning, helping others, creating art etc.

2. Guiding Principles
Another powerful way to help you navigate your year is to establish your guiding principles.  These only need be a few however they can also help in your decision-making throughout the year.  As a colleague at work recently shared with me, she calls this her “rocking chair test”, thinking about when you are old and sitting in a rocking chair and asking “What would I like to have achieved in my life?  What would I like to have said about me?”  It is also a way of checking whether if you do/don’t do or become something, will you regret it?  By considering these guiding principles they become your compass for the year so that in any given moment you can check in and ask yourself whether you are moving closer to or further away from these guiding principles.  New Year’s day we caught up with a friend who sadly lost her beloved partner last year.  As part of simplifying her life and giving her some guidance she has chosen to make this year the year that she 1. Tries things, 2. becomes more Tolerant and 3. Talks to others; 3 T’s.  And interestingly throughout the day I saw how she was using these 3 T’s to help her.

3. Major Focus
You may like to choose one area in your life in particular that you wish to focus on this year, to simplify things, i.e. one role where you would like to see a real difference.  What is that?  Using your right brain skills of imagining, imagine what success would look like in that area and then map that out.

4. Aspects of your Life
I have added a series of branches to cover various life aspects.  Some aspects may be relevant to you and others may not.  If you have completed your review of 2012, you likely will be aware of those areas you were more satisfied with and others perhaps less satisfied, in which case what would you like to do differently?

It is worth remembering, in any planning there is only so much that is within your own control however there is also that which isn’t.  This process is about looking at what is in your control and yet at the same time you can also think about how you might deal with things that aren’t, again how you respond is then back within your control.  So now is the time to take a helicopter view of all of your life and then zoom in on each aspect.  If we were to scale these aspects with a 10 being the highest score, again using your imagination focus in on 2013 and imagine what a 10 would look like for you in these various aspects.  What would you like to have achieved by the end of 2013?  What would you need to do differently for this to be achieved?  And then start setting your goals for 2013.  On your branches, be specific in answering the What? When? How? Why? (check if aligned with your values) and check your commitment, are you committed to this (100% will do or is this a “should”?), then take responsibility for. 

In 2012 there were a number of significant art prizes I wanted to enter and I am pleased to say that I did.  I had set my goals from the outset and then using my diary and tracking dates, worked towards them throughout the year.  However, in reviewing 2012 I also recalled that there was something I had hoped to achieve in 2012 which was in alignment with my values and yet which didn’t happen.  When I reflected on this I realised I was never fully committed to the idea and at the same time I still held a number of limiting beliefs which got in the way of this goal happening.  Coaches are also human!

5. Beliefs
Beliefs are definitely worth investigating when looking at the various aspects of your life and what you would like to achieve in your coming year.  Ask yourself “What are the beliefs you currently hold that may get in the way of you achieving what you would like to achieve?  And, is that limiting belief actually true?”  Now is the time to create new beliefs, new paradigms for yourself.  For example, until 13 years ago I had told myself “I can’t draw or paint”, however along with a number of events at the time, I happened to read a line in Betty Edwards classic book “Drawing on the Right Side of the brain” which read something like “If you have enough dexterity to sign your name, you can draw.”  Hmmm, well I could sign my name so the truth is I could potentially draw.  So I decided I would change my belief to, “I can possibly draw”, I allowed myself to make mistakes, to learn and the truth is I can actually draw.  What beliefs are holding you back?  Are they actually true?  What new belief would support you in going forward?

So allocate an hour or two in the next week or so, find yourself a comfortable place, grab a large notepad and some coloured pens, and sit back, close your eyes, and use some of your right brain skills in imagining yourself a year from now.  Where do you want to be?  What do you want to be doing?  What does your life look like?  Your career? Your relationships?  How do you see yourself being?  What would you like to hear yourself saying at the end of 2013?  And “Beginning with the end in mind”, Mind Map your 2013!

Remember, the key process in manifesting your life desires is first thinking about (and visualising) what it is you are wanting to achieve, and the second step is writing a plan to achieve it.  With your Mind Map you are now well on the way to making your thoughts your reality.

I wish you all the very best for 2013 and I now need to go and do my own Mind Map!

Cheers, Marion